Your Amazon seller rating is one of your best tools for making more sales.
When a buyer looks at your product among listings from other sellers, they have two things to base their buying decision on: value and trust. You can compete on value with lower prices and better shipping options. To compete on trust, though, you need an excellent Amazon seller rating.
Why Amazon Seller Ratings Are Important
Amazon seller ratings are prominently displayed when customers look at their buying options for a given product. In fact, the ratings are even more eye-catching than the prices. Just look at this example for a package of socks:
It’s easy to tell which one of these will attract the most buyers. NY Lingerie offers the best value (the lowest price combined with the same free shipping as the next two sellers) and is the most trustworthy (it has the highest seller rating by far). That killer combination means it’s no contest.
But how do you get that kind of great rating?
How Seller Ratings Work
A completely satisfactory delivery is worth 100 points. If little things don’t go perfectly, then Amazon will start to chip points off of your score. On the other hand, you might get bonus points for exceptional service if you do everything right and deliver ahead of schedule.
Your scores are averaged together to get your seller rating. It’s a fairly complex algorithm, with more weight placed on recent sales than previous ones, but it basically works like this:
If you got a 90 on one sale and a 100 on the other two, you’d have a score of about 97.
If you got a 0 on one sale and a 100 on the other two, you’d have a score of about 67. Ouch!
Just like with your credit rating, doing one thing wrong does a lot more to hurt you than doing one thing right does to help.
Here are the three most important things you can do to protect your seller rating:
1. Deliver As Promised
The first thing that Amazon judges you for is simple: do you actually do what you say you will?
This first applies to delivering when you promise to. If your listing says the item will ship within two days but you fail to confirm that it has gone out until day three, then Amazon will whack you—hard.
A late sale is worth 0 points. That will drag your score down quickly, and it will take a lot of perfect deliveries to make up for it.
Note that Amazon doesn’t care if you failed to confirm the order as shipped because you missed the email, forgot to log on and mark it as confirmed, or had your Internet connection down at the time. You should always have systems in place to make sure that every delivery is made when you say it will be made.
If you want a truly exceptional seller rating, then deliver ahead of schedule whenever you can. This will give you a shot at getting bonus points.
Delivering as promised also applies to delivering what you promise to. You’ll lose points if you have to cancel the order because you’re out of stock.
You’ll also lose some if the customer complains that the item they received didn’t perfectly match the one in the listing—even if you included notes saying that it was somewhat different (e.g. missing a part or in a different color). They can also force you to refund them. You have to create a new listing if existing ones don’t precisely match what you’re selling.
2. Communicate with Your Customer—Quickly
Amazon does not make room for weekends and holidays. If the customer sends you a message, you must respond within 24 hours. Any later and you’ll start losing points.
It isn’t just Amazon with these high expectations; 41% of your customers expect you to respond within six hours. Past that point, your risk of a customer becoming upset and doing something to hurt your seller rating starts to increase. Always respond as quickly as possible.
3. Provide Great Customer Service
If a customer demands a refund (within reason), then provide it quickly and professionally. Customer ratings play a big role in your seller score, and negative feedback can hurt a lot. But there are worse things that can happen.
Those “worse things” are customers seeking assistance from Amazon under the A-to-z Guarantee.
Forcing Amazon to step in and solve the problem will go about as well as poking a bear. You’ll get mauled with a -500 score for that sale. It only takes a handful of A-to-z claims to sink any seller.
The best way to avoid this sort of situation is, again, rapid communication with your customers. Make them feel like you are responding to anything they bring up and willing to help them with all their problems. Fast assistance can quickly defuse anger and prevent them from turning to Amazon.
We use Zendesk to manage communications for our own Amazon selling business and keep our seller ratings—and therefore our sales—high. In fact, that’s why we invented ChannelReply—to enable smooth, rapid communication between eBay/Amazon and Zendesk. You can visit our homepage to learn more about our Amazon-Zendesk integrations.
The Short Answer
All in all, getting a great Amazon seller rating is pretty straightforward. Follow Amazon’s rules, run your business honestly, make your deliveries as soon as possible, and respond to customers quickly. Do that, and soon customers will clearly see you as the best seller on the list.
For a better understanding of Amazon's rules, read up on their seller return policy, general return policy, and refund policy. Alternatively, find out how to make your customers happier with our online customer service tips or by mastering the art of providing exceptional service.